Handicapping The AFC West
Looking for 2016 AFC West Predictions? With the preseason kicking off, now is the time to lock in your future bets. Divisional odds change every week throughout the season. Now is the chance to really steal some good odds and get yourself some value. Last season, the Denver Broncos put together one of the most dominant defenses in the league and rode that unit to a Super Bowl title.
2016 AFC West Predictions: Denver Broncos
Broncos Odds to Win 2016 Super Bowl: +1600
Broncos Odds to Win 2016 AFC Conference: +700
Broncos Odds to Win 2016 AFC West Division: +195
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They will need to follow the same blueprint to repeat this season as their new starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, is arguably one of the worst starters in the league.
It didn’t affect them much last season as Peyton Manning struggled to provide even adequate play, but his significant playoff experience will be missed.
Not much else changed for the Broncos since their championship run.
They re-signed one of the league’s best defenders in Von Miller after a lengthy holdout, and upgraded at LT, swapping out the oft-injured Ryan Clady for former Seahawk Russel Okung.
Their defense will certainly feel the sting of Malik Jackson’s departure after he signed a lucrative free agent deal with the Jaguars.
The Broncos will have a tough time repeating this year, but their defense should keep them in most games despite their underwhelming offense.
2016 AFC West Predictions: Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs Odds to Win 2016 Super Bowl: +2300
Chiefs Odds to Win 2016 AFC Conference: +1000
Chiefs Odds to Win 2016 AFC West Division: +200
If anyone has a legitimate shot to take the division from the champs, it’s the Chiefs. Being faced with a potential mass exodus of their key defensive contributors, the KC brass was able to lock down Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson and keep the core of their defense intact.
While there weren’t any real marquee free agent additions, it’s worth nothing that they played much of last year without some pro bowl level talents due to injury.
Jamaal Charles looked like the league’s most dynamic back before going down with an injury.
Whether or not he returns in peak physical condition remains to be seen, but if he isn’t up to the task, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware both proved to be capable starters last season.
The secondary took a hit with Tyvon Branch and Sean Smith departing via free agency, but getting four-time Pro Bowler Eric Berry back should help soften the blow.
The Chiefs play sound, mistake free football and have a balanced defense that compliments the offense well.
If they can stay healthy and Andy Reid can learn how to manage close games in the 4th quarter, then you may see the Chiefs dethrone the Super Bowl Champs in the AFC West.
2016 AFC West Predictions: Oakland Raiders
Raiders Odds to Win 2016 Super Bowl: +3000
Raiders Odds to Win 2016 AFC Conference: +1500
Raiders Odds to Win 2016 AFC West Division: +280
The Raiders have been a laughingstock in the league for years now, but last season they finally offered a glimmer of hope to the diehards in the Black Hole.
The duo of Derek Carr and Amari Cooper looked dangerous and will continue to grow together and lead the offense for years to come.
In addition to Cooper, the Raiders boast one of the best young defensive players in the NFL. In only his second season, Khalil Mack became a First Team All-Pro and should anchor their defense for the next decade.
The Raiders did very well this offseason by adding a handful of veterans on below market-value deals to complement their young core.
The additions of Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson in the secondary should improve that unit dramatically, and the signing of Kelechi Osemele could make this of the better offensive lines in the AFC.
The Raiders have depth, balance and a core that will only improve with time, and although I don’t think they will challenge for the division this season, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if they staked their claim in 2017-2018.
2016 AFC West Predictions: San Diego Chargers
Chargers Odds to Win 2016 Super Bowl: +8000
Chargers Odds to Win 2016 AFC Conference: +3800
Chargers Odds to Win 2016 AFC West Division: +800
The Chargers window seems to have slammed shut after years of being a perennial contender.
Phillip Rivers had a poor year last season and whether that season turns out to be the outlier in an otherwise great career, or the start of a downward trend will really impact the ceiling this team has.
Rivers has weapons in Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, and the ageless wonder Antonio Gates at tight end but the real question will be whether this defense can keep opposing teams off the board.
They added a couple nice pieces in Brandon Mebane and Casey Heyward, but I’m not sure either one of those pieces transforms this into an elite defensive unit.
It also looks like their blue chip draft pick, Joey Bosa, might go full Manning and not ever play a snap for them.
I think the best case scenario for the Chargers this year is a 9-7 finish, but they appear to be the only team in the AFC West who doesn’t have a legitimate shot at winning the division.
Cappers Picks 2016 AFC West Predictions
In my mind, this is the toughest division to pick in the AFC. The Raiders seem too young, but their potential is tantalizing. The Chiefs have weapons all over the field, but an untrustworthy coach.
The Broncos just won it all but…. Mark Sanchez. It’s tough to pick against the world champs, but I’m going to say Chiefs manage to put it together this year.
They have veteran leadership all over the field and impact talent at a number of positions.
I think this is their year and they take the AFC West crown away from the Manning-less Broncos.
2016 NFL Gambling
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